Pencils Explained for Beginners

So you have just started drawing and aren’t sure what materials to buy or even what sort of pencils to get?  I explain what basic materials I recommend for all beginners and explain a bit about them.

Pencils 

SD03748-ZZZ-ZZZ-Staedtler-Noris-Pencil_P1
The Noris or ‘School Pencil’ is not suitable for drawing

There are all sorts of pencils out there from the Noris ‘school’ pencil (pictured to the right) to artists quality pencils.  I have seen learners over the years drawing with all of them!

The Noris pencils is not a suitable drawing pencil, you want to be investing in some artist quality pencils if you are serious about learning to draw.  Having the right tools for the job will certainly make the task of drawing much easier.

All pencils are graphite and they come in varying degrees of softness.  The softest pencil is a 9B and the hardest pencil is 9H. See my post – Which Pencil?  where I explain the pencil grades.  Pencils are relatively inexpensive and last for a while so even if you can’t  afford anything else you can still draw and sketch! I recommend that all beginner artists purchase a set of pencils like this one below.  I would recommend that the set has B, 2B, 4B and 6B as these to me are the most important grades.  These B grades will give you a large tonal range.

Many beginner learners get confused by graphite sticks, charcoal pencils, lead sticks and ask me what the difference is.  They are all basically pencils in different forms.  If you are starting out don’t make it complicated, I recommend sticking to standard pencils for now, they are less expensive and often easier to use than the alternatives.

pencil set
A set of five pencils of different B grades is recommended for beginners
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